Draisaitl and Germany will face the relegation round if it loses to Czech Republic (The Canadian Press)
It only looks like Leon Draisaitl was pulling the chute during Germany's lopsided loss to Team USA on Sunday at the world junior championship.
The thin German squad that has been outscored 24-4 in its three losses could face the possibility of not having its best player for the relegation round, where it would likely face Norway in a saw-off to determine who stays in the top flight. In the opening stages of the second period on Sunday, Draisaitl checked Winnipeg Jets prospect Andrew Copp from behind into the end boards. That earned the 18-year-old Draisaitil a five-minute and game misconduct, meaning the International Ice Hockey Federation would certainly have to look into a suspension.
Draisaitl was hailed before the tournament is one of the top draft-eligible talents in the tournament. He's been largely stymied, although with two assists in three games, he's participated in 50 per cent of Germany's scoring, he typed with tongue in cheek. No doubt the big question was seeing how the Prince Albert Raiders star would face any frustration that might emanate from being on an undermanned team. Getting tossed from the game might have stickiness with scouts, especially since he's the team captain.
Germany, which lost 8-0, only trailed by two at that point. It had a decent opportunity to stay in contact with the U.S. when it received an early 5-on-3 power play.
A multi-game suspension would carry over into the relegation round. Being relegated to the second tier would be a tremendous setback for Germany, which arguably is an underachiever at the under-20 level, given the country's population and affluence. (One issue in Germany is that the age cutoff for junior hockey is 18 rather than 20, or 21.)
A 2015 WJC with both Denmark and Norway in the field? Can you imagine?
For Draisaitl, getting ejected is likely just another data point. It doesn't override the good work he's done over a season and a half with Prince Albert.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: IIHF).
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